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Soccer: Spartans can't turn progress into wins

Aaron Shartin-Folkert (2) is one of the younger Somerset players who have significant improvements in recent games. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

Progress is starting to show, but the Somerset boys soccer team wasn't able to turn that progress into wins in any of their three games last week.

The Spartans suffered losses to Baldwin-Woodville, Cumberland and Washburn, dropping their season record to 1-10.

The week started with last Tuesday's game at Baldwin. The young Spartans got overwhelmed by the improved Blackhawks, losing 5-0. Somerset coach Bill Roll was impressed with the Blackhawks, who tied Amery 2-2 later last week.

"They've got three pretty dangerous offensive players. Jacek (Nickowski) might be the best offensive player in the conference," Roll said.

With the multi-faceted attack, B-W was able to put 38 shots on goal. Somerset keeper Brennan Sheridan was able to stop 33 of them.

The Spartans faced another improved opponent when they went to Cumberland last Thursday, losing to the Beavers 4-1. Somerset trailed 2-1 at halftime. Roll said he felt the Spartans played better in the second half, but they couldn't add to their goal total. He said the team's inexperience showed in how the players were spaced around the field.

"We didn't move well together as a team. We had big gaps between the midfield and our forwards," Roll said.

One of the bright spots for the team last week was freshman Aaron Shartin-Folkert, who scored both of the team's goals. They were his first two goals at the varsity level. And they came on nearly identical plays. Against Cumberland, "he ripped a beauty, probably 25 yards out, upper right corner of the net," as Roll described the goal.

The first half goal against Washburn was quite similar. The first half ended 1-1. Somerset had some of its best scoring chances of the season in the second half, but couldn't capitalize, including one shot off a goalpost.

"It was a frustrating day. We played well with good energy," Roll said.

A good sign for the Spartans was they gave up two of their lowest shot totals in the games Thursday and Friday. Sheridan stopped 21 of 25 shots Thursday and 18 of 20 shots against Washburn.

"He's kept us in games at times," Roll said.

The Spartans are now into their Middle Border Conference schedule. It continues Thursday with a game at New Richmond. The Spartans will face another of their nearest neighbors next Monday when they host Osceola.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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